Freedom ride...

Freedom ride...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The Fourth started with Israel Love and myself climbing on the old Harley and heading out for a morning Freedom Ride. Now going for a motorcycle ride on a beautiful summer morning may not seem like a big deal in the global scheme of things… but there are many places in this world today where a little journey like this might end with us never coming home. Here we suited up, put on our helmets and rode for a couple of hours before coming home for a snack and a dog walk. Very simple… but very profound. I take this for granted most of the time, but as we Americans celebrate our Independence Day… I give thanks for this simple pleasure… and more!

My Mother flew Old Glory every day at her house in North Shore Tahoe. When she moved down to Mill Valley in the late 80’s, the flag frequently flew at the house she shared with my Dad in Scott’s Valley. After my parents passed in ’97 and ’98, many of their possessions came to live in boxes in the shop behind our house here at Hillside Farm. While doing some cleaning a couple of weeks ago, I found the old flag neatly folded, resting a box with ancient family photographs. Yesterday we brought her out and, unprepared, couldn’t find a pole so we reverently hung her from one of the cross beams of our pergola.

Mom's Flag greets the dawn!

Mom's Flag greets the dawn!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

We swam in the pool… had a delicious cook out and went to Middleport down on the Ohio River for the fireworks. There we were, family, in-laws, out-laws, nieces, nephews, wives and daughters… and a pickup truck. An all American evening… sitting by the river in a pharmacy parking lot high on a hill with the other local denizens.

The rocket's red glare...

The rocket's red glare...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

This picture says it all for me… but one last thing.

The other day, I was driving Izze and her pal Lucy down to Hillside Farm from Athens and the girls were sitting together in the spacious back seat of my truck. These young ladies were gifts to us from women in China we shall never know… and now these young Americans began to sing together. They started with some show tunes from Annie, but then, all of a sudden they sang The Star Spangled Banner… perfectly… and followed it up with America The Beautiful… perfectly! Two daughters of the Middle Kingdom, more American than apple pie and mom celebrating the Fourth with a message from the heart!

It brought tears of pride to my eyes!

Happy Fourth Of July to my fellow Americans out there… we are blessed indeed… and if I had my way, no one in the world would go hungry tonight!

Two American Girls

Two American Girls

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen


  1. Comment made on August 30, 2014 by Scott Longstreet

    I am soooo tired of Americans demonizing American born children of illegal immigrants who have known no other country but ours and are as American as you and I are? Thanks Jorma. Your daughter’s story is a testament to the American story. Ironically it is what defines this country (a melting pot) and yet, after centuries of creating the most successful nation of modern times primarily because of its melange, many of the beneficiaries of that tolerance still think that their culture defines American and foreign influences should be resisted. WTF!

  2. Comment made on July 7, 2014 by Tom in St. Louis

    Reading about the girls singing gave me the most wonderful feeling…maybe the future is in good hands after all!

  3. Comment made on July 5, 2014 by dan

    Well said JK. And you look like a bad ass on that Harley.

  4. Comment made on July 5, 2014 by cyndy consentino

    Dear Jorma,

    Mucho love to u and your’s !!
    always love your perspective !

    see you in 3 weeks at FPR.



  5. Comment made on July 5, 2014 by Scott Meyers

    Enjoy the holiday with the family JK. Read the Declaration of Independence for the first time since my kids were small yesterday and it’s not only brilliant it’s very moving. The first time I ever put up a flag on my home was 9/12/2001. Great piece..great country.

  6. Comment made on July 5, 2014 by Steve Goldston

    Well written. Thank you for the wonderful perspective.

  7. Comment made on July 5, 2014 by jim hitchcock


    Jorma, I think you mentioned once before that your Mom resided at North Shore once upon a time. Would really like to see you back in Carson City some day. Do it for the tamales!

    And say hi to cookie monster Izzy for me.

  8. Comment made on July 5, 2014 by Joey Hudoklin

    Amen Jorma. Celebrating Independence Day has indeed taken on a deeper significance for me.
    It’s something I feel in my heart. Learning to be grateful takes faith, time, and practice.
    We are, I am, among the luckiest folks on the planet.
    It is too easy to take our way of life, ie; the gift of freedom to think what we want to think, and have the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness, for granted.
    I’ve been blessed to have been a professional Flying Disc Athlete, part time Musician, and, now in recovery, can truly appreciate the gifts of freedom our Constitution offers, and the joyous blessings of having a Second Chance at life. Things don’t always go my way, but learning to live life on lifes’ terms gives me a chance to grow spiritually, and be of help to others on their journey.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful family adventure, and giving me and us out here in Tuna Nation a venue to openly communicate on things both frivolous & meaningful.
    God Bless.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful family adventures, and giving

  9. Comment made on July 5, 2014 by Sharon Mushock

    Love this. Simply pleasures in life are truly the best. You are a lucky man. I can hear your voice reading aloud in this post as a song. You are so gifted. Enjoy the rest of this weekend!

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